The Federal Government has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to suspend its proposed 2-day nationwide warning strike over economic hardship.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Simon Lalong, made the call at a news conference on Monday in Abuja.
Recall that the NLC in a communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council (NLC) said it would commence a 2-day nationwide warning strike from Sept. 5 to Sept. 6.
The NLC also threatened to embark on indefinite nationwide strike within 14 working days or 21 days from when the communique was issued unless the Federal Government addressed the excruciating suffering of Nigerians.
Lalong said that the appeal had become necessary in order to ensure robust line of communication with Nigerians and in particular the organised labour to forestall a breakdown of industrial peace.
He noted that the planned industrial action would no doubt reverse some of the gains already made by the administration.
According to him, in this context, it has become pertinent to appeal to the leadership of the NLC to suspend its intended two days warning strike.
“As such action would be detrimental to the gains already being recorded on our course to securing a greater future for Nigerian workers and citizens at large.
“Furthermore, I would request that the Comrade Leadership of the NLC gives this government some time to settle and address the issues on the ground holistically.
“It should be realised that the Cabinet of this administration was only recently sworn in by Mr President and all cabinet members have hit the ground running by receiving briefings from their MDAs.
“Therefore, the issues raised by the leadership of the NLC are some issues that I and the Minister of State for Labour and Employment are being briefed upon,” he said.
The minister however reassured Nigerian workers that this government would never take them for granted nor fail to appreciate their support and understanding.
He also said that this administration would continue to pursue policies aimed at massive employment generation in all sectors of the economy.
Lalong added that this would enable government look into immediate challenges that have emerged out of its policies, saying “we cannot do this in an atmosphere devoid of industrial peace.
He also said that as a Minister of Labour and Employment, he was yet to be served official communication of the NLC communiqué, following its NEC meeting as required by law.
He further urged the NLC to do the needful by following laid down processes for handling such matters since the cabinet was on ground.
He assured that all the issues raised by the NLC would be looked into one after the other.
“Allow me to first express my sympathy and that of the government of President Bola Tinubu to Nigerians and in particular the workers.
“That is over the challenges that have arisen from the removal of petrol subsidy and other policies of the government aimed at renewing hope for the future of our dear nation.
“In light of these matters, I would like to reiterate my appeal to the leadership of the NLC to suspend the warning strike and subsequent future actions.
“To allow us to work together to amicably resolve these issues rather than embark on actions that would further worsen the conditions of the citizens of Nigeria,” he said.
He therefore announced that government would be meeting with the NLC by 3 p.m. on Monday (Sept. 4).